Co-op group calls for specific Brexit measures in upcoming budget

Umbrella group for dairy co-ops says Brexit warrants income stabilisation measures

The Irish Co-operative Society is proposing that a farmer can enter into a voluntary agreement with their co-operative to defer up to 5 per cent of their gross annual income. Photograph: Getty

The Irish Co-operative Society is proposing that a farmer can enter into a voluntary agreement with their co-operative to defer up to 5 per cent of their gross annual income. Photograph: Getty

 

The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (Icos), which represents dairy co-ops and livestock marts, has called for the establishment of an “income stabilisation measure” in the upcoming budget in a bid to reduce the impact of Brexit on the sector.

In a pre-budget submission, the organisation said Brexit would result in a major upheaval as the UK accounts for 37 per cent of Irish food and drink exports.

It also said income volatility remained a significant threat to the achievement of the Food Wise 2025 Strategy, the Government’s blueprint for expanding food and drink exports.

“Icos is strongly urging the Government to announce the establishment of an income stabilisation measure whereby some income might be deferred in a period of high prices and drawn down in a period of lower prices,” Icos president Martin Keane said.

‘Unparalleled threat’

“In last year’s budget, the Government committed to further consideration of such a measure. It is now time for its implementation,” he said.

“The Government must include measures in Budget 2018 to deal with the unparalleled threat to the Irish economy by the UK’s decision to exit the EU including current Brexit related Sterling weakness,” Mr Keane added.

Icos, which represents 130 co-operative societies with a combined turnover of €14 billion, is proposing that a farmer can enter into a voluntary agreement with their co-operative to defer up to 5 per cent of their gross annual income.